HMS Trent has been deployed to hunt drug smugglers in the Caribbean Sea.

HMS Trent usually operates in the Mediterranean and off Africa’s west coast as part of a long-term security mission, but is heading for the Caribbean to clamp down on drugs runners, according to the Royal Navy here. 

The patrol ship arrives in the region to replace destroyer HMS Dauntless, which seized more than £200m worth of cocaine during a highly fruitful hurricane season deployment.

“Fellow River-class Batch 2 HMS Medway usually patrols the Caribbean but has been in the South Atlantic – operating around the Falkland Islands – while sister ship HMS Forth underwent extensive maintenance. With Forth now back in her regular stomping ground, it has freed Medway up to get some much-needed maintenance herself and paved the way for Trent to head to the Caribbean. 

In August, HMS Trent was deployed to the Gulf of Guinea to deliver training to countries across the region, aiding the fight against maritime crime, including piracy and armed robbery. Her sailors have been conducting post-deployment maintenance over the last month, working hard to ensure the ship is fighting fit for the Caribbean.”

Sub-Lieutenant Tom Bartlett said in the news release: “Our tour of the Gulf of Guinea was a great opportunity to train with and build relationships with partner nations. The crew have thoroughly enjoyed their time in Gibraltar whilst we prepare for our new adventures.”

You can read more on this here.

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Armchair Admiral
Armchair Admiral
3 months ago

Needs a longish ranged drone for this sort of thing?

Deep32
Deep32
3 months ago

Yes, and in reality probably another B2 River class to stop this merry-go-round of units while one is in maintenance, as one station is now without a ship to conduct patrols!

Jon
Jon
3 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

Trent’s normal station is shared between the Mediterranean and West Africa out of Gibraltar. Other ships also patrol the Mediterranean, and the West Indies too for that matter. With the possible exception of the Falklands, the B2s don’t really need to be on station 100%.

We contribute to international efforts. For example, UK, Holland and France all patrol in the Carribean, and the USCG’s contribution will be even larger, as that’s where a lot of those drugs would otherwise end up.

Bill
Bill
3 months ago
Reply to  Jon

USGC is indeed the main contibuter and their assets together with around 20 other nations own assets are co-ordinated through JIATS in Key West where there are”liaison officers” from all Governments and LEO Agencies . It is an amazing set up and has some very VERY clever people there at JIATS.

Deep32
Deep32
3 months ago
Reply to  Jon

Yes mate, appreciate that we collaborate on some tasks with our allies, but this is our national tasking where HMG/MOD dream it important for us to be seen. Obviously we aren’t going to build any more of these assets, and that when it arrives T31s will take over some of these duties. The issue being if the B2 are being replaced on a one for one basis, we currently have gaps, then the same will apply in the future, just with bigger ships. Given the government’s lack of will to spend what is actually required, then perhaps they ought to… Read more »

Frank
Frank
3 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

Ideal order for Appledore to my mind.

Deep32
Deep32
3 months ago
Reply to  Frank

Frank, you and Appledore, you got shares in the place mate!😂 But yes, the ideal place to build some of the smaller assets that we really do require.

Deep32
Deep32
3 months ago
Reply to  Frank

Happy xmas fella, enjoy whatever tipple you are partaking in!

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF
3 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

Feasible to detail a RB1 to backfill RB2s during maintenance periods (at least the Gib and Carribean vessels)? 🤔

Jon
Jon
3 months ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

You can get a B1 across to the Caribbean. Both Severn and Mersey went over in the last decade, with Severn taking over from the frigates that used to do Atlantic Patrol, North. I recall the CO of HMS Severn hinting in an interview that it wasn’t the easiest of journeys crossing the North Atlantic. Even though they carried disaster relief equipment and supplies, neither ship was there during hurricane season.

So yes, feasible, but not ideal.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF
3 months ago
Reply to  Jon

Thanks, may mean that any plan would only involve a RB1 backfilling the Gib based vessel, which would in turn backfill the RB2 requiring maintenance. Hopefully, no more than one RB2 would require maintenance at the same time. 🤔🤞

Plan does have the virtue of not requiring purchase of additional OPV(s), nor further tasking for scarce DDGs or FFGs.

Jim
Jim
3 months ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Yes we use to use very expensive frigates and destroyers for these roles. Now FF/DD cost £1 billion each we have seen sense and invested in OPV’s for the task that can easily be forward based.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF
3 months ago
Reply to  Jim

👌🖖

Bill
Bill
3 months ago
Reply to  Jon

So true! I was in Key West when Severn visited and the stories about the crossing “educational” in addition I reminded the medical officer that they were now south of Cairo and sunblock was essential!

geoff
geoff
3 months ago
Reply to  Bill

Morning Gents. So are the RB1’s that much less seaworthy in deep water than the RB2s. I know the Batch 2’s are a couple of hundred tons heavier but does that make a big difference or is other equipment at play?

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 months ago
Reply to  geoff

Hi Geoff a rivers 2 has 36 feet of length on a rivers 1 but they both have the same beam…length is really important in a vessels sea keeping a short stubby ship like a rivers 1 will have a lot more motion especially in a large ocean where the waves have a wider wavelength..so the waves in the Atlantic and pacific can have wavelengths of 100-200meters…with and average wave length of 100meter. that’s going to make a 79 meter river one pretty horrible….where as a 90meter river two will have better sea keeping. its not so much the tonnage… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Jonathan
Deep32
Deep32
3 months ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Saw what @Jon posted, wasn’t aware of that myself.
Anyway, Happy festive period to you and your tribe. I’m going to immerse myself in a nice case of vin rouge.🍷😆

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF
3 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

Thanks, best wishes to you and yours for a Happy Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year! 😊
Dunno, given the probable outlook for 2024, may personally have to hit the liquor cabinet for a belt of high octane fuel. 🤔🥴😁

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
3 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

Yet just a short while back we considered decommissioning the remaining B1s as well. How quickly all the Rivers have become indispensable, helping free our relatively few major escorts to concentrate more on their high end military roles.

Jim
Jim
3 months ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Yes, makes you think we are making the same mistake with the T1 typhoons.

Deep32
Deep32
3 months ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Interesting isn’t it!
Personally I don’t think we have the mix of high/low assets correct yet. Not sure we ever will either come to think of it.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
3 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

Likely a very interesting period ahead on all fronts. May not have been this interesting since the first half of the 20th. Nice to have something to look forward to….or not.

Jon
Jon
3 months ago

Yes. Something like Peregrine (Camcopter) would be good, but even Puma or Sky Mantis wouldn’t go amiss.

Craig
Craig
3 months ago
Reply to  Jon

Trent has a Puma drone, at least it did for the recent West African deployment. I think all the RB2s have a Puma drone.

Paul.P
Paul.P
3 months ago

I think the US Coast Guard provides aerial surveillance and target designation for the whole show, so most of vessels policing Caribbean are OPVs.

James Bussey
James Bussey
3 months ago

WTF are the Royal Navy doing in the Caribbean Sea? If they want to stop the tsunamis of illegal narcotics from entering the UK, they should operate in UK waters, along our coastlines and within seaports, doing intelligence-led targeting of vessels, or just randomly turning over anything that takes their fancy, in a similar way to which any British soldier in N Ireland could stop and search vehicles and people for terrorist arms and munitions. Except such a ‘radical’ increase in military powers and redeployment of naval resources to the home country would be the same as admitting the UK… Read more »

SailorBoy
SailorBoy
3 months ago
Reply to  James Bussey

The Caribbean patrols aren’t purely a drug issue, though I take your point. The UK is a job for the Border Force.
Much of the Commonwealth and British Overseas Territories are in and around the Carribbean. Deploying an OPV to fly the flag and stop smugglers around their countries is the least we can do.

monkey spanker
monkey spanker
3 months ago
Reply to  James Bussey

I’m sure your not saying the forces should be invading France to deal with the the people organising and launching boats. Really the problems can’t be solved currently. Option A is blockage France and other launching situations and if they do launch forcing them back to France or sink them. Not going to happen. France doesn’t want them so is happy to get them out of their country. The most workable option is funding the processing departments properly so they can process all applications in weeks instead of years. For years governments Haven’t bothered so we such long processing times.… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by monkey spanker
geoff
geoff
3 months ago
Reply to  monkey spanker

Morning MS. Great post and one that most of us don’t want to think about at this time of year when we can rest body and brain, but France is the real villain here. There is no doubt that they could eliminate 90% of this traffic at source and the UK has been more than willing to contribute financially to such a programme. The reality is that the UK is still being punished for Brexit and as you say-why would France want these people? The other reality is that most of these people do not qualify for refugee status and… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by geoff
James Bussey
James Bussey
3 months ago
Reply to  monkey spanker

I was referring to stopping illegal drugs entering the UK rather than illegal immigrants, by concentrating our naval and other forces around the homeland, rather than have our few warships ranging up and down the Atlantic Ocean like latter day Kriegsmarine commerce raiders of the two World Wars. If we did close off the Caribbean for trafficking narcotics, then they would come into the UK by another route. If I was serving on a RN warship, I know I’d rather be in the Caribbean for a run ashore than rainy Liverpool searching merchant vessels, or subjecting ship’s crews to airport-style… Read more »

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
3 months ago
Reply to  James Bussey

The Intelligence led operations UK drug interdiction / Border Force rely on commence where the threat is most efficiently countered, whether that’s within countries of origin, en route, within UK territorial waters, including liaison with other states’ enforcement agencies & our armed services where applicable.
Within the UK, I share your frustration regarding the proliferation of illicit drugs (now separately, the blatant targetting of the young by ‘legal drug pushers’, in the form of attractively marketed vapes).

Jim
Jim
3 months ago
Reply to  James Bussey

Unfortunately all drugs coming to the UK come in a truck on a ferry through Dover. Not a job for the RN.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
3 months ago

I see the Venezuela president has threatened HMS Trent, as she is in waters close to Guyana. Guyana is a member of the commonwealth, so I’m not sure if the UK would get involved should Venezuela commence military action against the nation?